James speaks out against favoritism in chapter two. First, he describes a situation in which the church is gathering and a rich man with fancy clothing is given a special seat compared to a poor man in shabby clothing who is told to sit on the floor.
James proceeds in telling his hearers that to “love your neighbor as yourself” is to do right, but to “show favoritism” is to “sin” (2:8-9).
How often do we do this in subtle ways? I had to stop and ask for forgiveness of certain motives today as I was reading this.
It’s possible to find ourselves putting more emphasis on a relationship based on what it can do for our social status, or return texts and voicemails (or not) in order of priority based on social standing, or to make simple judgments about someone by appearance. Let this not be the case!
Don Burdick says that, “The social snobbery of the world is short-sighted and superficial.” Since this life is not forever, we shouldn’t put so much emphasis on temporal things.
Rather, we need to love. To love ones neighbor as oneself is to treat them in such a way that overlooks how one is dressed or how much money one has.
Both the rich and the poor are in need of mercy and we may miss opportunities to share the good news with others if our eyes are blinded by favoritism.
It’s somewhat foolish when you think about it – showing favor to those who “have more” or “look better” in a temporal life?
Let’s pray for the love of Jesus to give us eyes to see and love all impartially.